INDIANAPOLIS – The belief in 2016 is that a healthy Andrew Luck will be able to strike on more than a few deep balls.
With speed to burn at the wide receiver position, getting behind the secondary through the air is something the Colts should find success with this fall.
On Saturday night though, we saw a different side of Luck in utilizing the playmakers at his disposal.
Chuck Pagano said on Saturday that the coaching staff has worked on the "clock" inside of the head of their starting quarterback.
Don't feel like you have to wait for the chunk play to develop. Let those pass catchers do what they do well after the catch.
"He is not turning down a profit, so if things aren't there down the field, then go ahead and hit your check down," Pagano said of the development Luck showed in his 2016 debut. "We've got some guys that can make some plays if we can get them the ball in space. You dump it off to our backs, we have some guys that can make some guys miss.
"(Luck) made great decisions in that regard."
The crossing routes were especially profitable to Luck on Saturday.
With the offensive line giving Luck and the skill guys time to let things develop, it allowed for the yards after catch to occur via some high percentage throws.
New coordinator Rob Chudzinski has called this offense "player driven" and we saw the passing game on Saturday display that theme.
"I truly believe get the ball into a playmaker's hands with space and you've got a chance," Luck said after going 8-of-8 for 71 yards on Saturday. "Chud does a great job of designing plays to get balls in Donte Moncrief's hands running away from someone and Phillip Dorsett's hands and the running backs hands. Even a little check down can be a nine, 10-yard gain.
"And that's the beauty of offensive football, when you can attack all different levels through the air and through the ground."
It's an aspect of the offense that is clearly going to be used in 2016.
What T.Y. Hilton, Moncrief and Dorsett can bring vertically with their speed, can also be used horizontally, where the yards will be chewed up more post-catch.
It's Luck the one directing this attack.
Back in his comfort zone on Saturday night, August football did have a different feel, even for a guy going into his fifth NFL season.
"It's like breathing, you just need more of it," Luck said of his return lasting a little more than a quarter.
"I needed to get out there and we did some really good things, too. You still get nervous and the butterflies sitting in the chair and you can't help but get excited for it. It's a chance to wear a Colts' uniform and go against another team. Those don't come that often. So it was exciting and it was fun."